If you want to actually do something about providing excellent education for every child in America, this is the book for you. Using insights from cognitive science, educational research, and the social sciences, the authors examine the compelling nature of four "dumb ideas" at the center of current education policy and practice: (1) simplifying knowledge helps students learn more and faster, (2) teaching and learning are a matter of proper transmission of good content, (3) homogenous environments ease learning, and (4) more standardized data and rigorous controls of our schooling will solve all our problems. The authors then present research that consistently shows why smart K-12 education will not be achieved by current policies and practices, such as high-stakes standardized tests, homogenous grouping, and abbreviated teacher preparation. This lively book offers solutions for changing the harmful disconnect between our goals and the means we employ to get there, including key "smart ideas" and a set of how-to actions that will lead to great schools for every child.
Eric M. Haas is an education researcher and educator. Gustavo E. Fischman is a professor at Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, Arizona State University. Joe Brewer is co-founder and research director of Culture 2 Inc.